For many, owning a home is one of the greatest acquisitions in life. The sense of ownership is rewarding and the life you build in your new home will be full of unforgettable memories. Each year in the United Sates, some 1.5 million achieve this dream and find a place to call their own.

While this transition from renting to owning is a fun and exciting experience, it begs the question: what is the timeline for buying a home? The experience will be different for each individual buyer, but there is a general timeline of events that play out before you can officially call a home yours.

The journey begins with considering where you want to put down your roots and the information about the area. Careful consideration should be given to factors such as the commute from work, traffic conditions or schools if you have or want to have children. The objective here isn’t to find your dream home yet, but rather to get a good feel for where you want to buy.

Before you actually start considering specific homes you may want to purchase, you should first speak with a mortgage lender to get pre-qualified. Getting pre-qualified will signal to buying agents and sellers that you are a serious prospective buyer. It will also help to keep you in a realistic budget range for your specific situation while searching for homes.

Once you’ve gotten pre-qualification, you are ready to choose a qualified real estate agent and start visiting listings to find “the one”. This is the part of the process that homebuyers put most of their energy into, and for good reason. For some, a new home might simply be a place to start or save on rent. For others, it might be the place they plan to raise their children. Take time to carefully research each home you view to make sure you understand exactly what you are buying. Some buyers may view 100 homes before making a decision, others may fall in love with the first they see. Once you’ve found the home you want to put an offer in on, speak to your realtor to officially place an offer. This process may take a few times before you start the closing process on a home.

If and when your offer is accepted, the truly critical phase of the buying process begins, the pre-closing period. Though you may feel exhausted after viewing all those homes, it is absolutely essential that you move quickly and stay on top of things in this time. Each state differs, but after signing the Purchase and Sales Agreement, you will have a predetermined amount of time to get things ready before the closing date. This includes gathering required documentation, submitting an official application, performing home inspections, calling an insurance company, mortgage processing and underwriting. To speed things along, it is always a good idea to gather important financial documents such as tax records and employment verification prior to entering this stage. All these things take time, and this process can generally last between 30-60 days.

Once you have cleared all the hurdles and gotten the green light from all parties, you are ready to close and take ownership of your new home. This process, from initial interest to closing, will take several months for most homebuyers. If purchasing a home is in your plans in the near future, make sure to visit Mechanics Cooperative Bank to speak with one of our friendly, experienced mortgage lending specialists. Mechanics Cooperative Bank prides itself on guiding buyers through the mortgage and home buying process.